tv CNN Newsroom CNN March 11, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT
at 2:00 p.m. eastern. that's it from the cnn grill, have a great weekend. hello, thank you for joining us. i'm fredericka whitfield. we're going to have a look at some of the presidential contenders for this hour. first in afghanistan, an american soldier leaves his base and goes on a shooting rampage today. the soldier we're told is a u.s. army staff sergeant allegedly going house to house killing as many as 16 civilians, most of them children. nato officials confirm the shooting soldier turned himself in. kofi annan spoke face to face again today in damascus. he the former u.s. secretary
general asked for a cease fire and wants syria to allow relief agencies to access people caught in the fighting, but the violence goes on across syria with at least 25 people killed today. hundreds are gathering in japan today to mark the one-year anniversary of a devastating earthquake and tsunami. right now to the next big battleground in the presidential race, the deep south, alabama and mississippi hold their primaries the next 48 hours. rick santorum and mitt romney, the latest polling shows an extremely tight race between the three candidates in alabama. and here's the most recent
snapshot in mississippi. an american research poll shows gingrich leading there, but still in a statistical dead heat with romney. and in the overall delegate hunt, romney remains the clear front-runner. santorum is in second place with 203, followed by gingrich with 118 and paul trailing the back with 56 delegates. mississippi voters are getting a lot of face time with the candidates. today rick santorum says that restaurants in -- newt gingrich attends a search service in the town of brandon followed by a campaign rally. both appeared on a sunday morning talk shows and asked about their chances come tuesday. >> we're looking of the a clean sweep you think on tuesday in the south ". >> it's a pretty tough battle ground down there, it's newt's
background, we're out there running the insurgent campaign, and all the polls show us -- we'll be in alabama tomorrow and we're just going to hustle. >> we're going to get a lot of delegates from both mississippi and alabama and the odds are pretty good that we'll win them, we're campaigning in both alabama and mississippi tomorrow. we have had great reaction and great crowd response and good organization in both states. we're always playing catch up to romney. but the truth is, we have caught up pretty dramatically and we'll have a good day on tuesday, but i'm committed to going all the way to tampa. >> joining newt gingrich and rick santorum in the south. it was rick santorum who
captured the biggest prize, the contest in kansas. joining us from overland park, kansas, cnn political reporter shannon travis, santorum's win there quite decisive? all right, shannon, can you hear me? looks like we're going to have to work on our audio there, with shannon travis there in kansas. we'll try to reconnect with him. what is at stake in the south for the gop candidates? we'll talk with a southern political observer straight ahead. but first, "saturday night live" is having a little bit of fun with a comment newt gingrich made earlier in the week. >> despite only winning the supertuesday primary in georgia, newt gingrich vowed to continue his campaign saying i'm the tortoise, i take it one step at a time, also if you roll me on
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all right, welcome back to this special hour of the cnn newsroom. we're taking time out every sunday to hear from the presidential contenders in their own words on the campaign trail. mitt romney much show he can win the support of evangelical christians and conservative voters and he's trying to hard to show his appeal. >> governor said i had to say it right, good morning, y'all. i got it right this morning,
with a biscuit and some cheesy grits, i'll tell you, delicious. >> but his competitors think he may be trying a little too hard. >> unlike one of my competitors, i have had grits before. and that may explain if anything why everybody in mississippi and alabama ought to vote for me. >> newt gingrich's campaign is struggling to survive and cannot afford a loss in either state. >> the speaker can say it as long as he wants, but the better opportunity to make sure that we nominate a conservative is to give us an opportunity to go head to head with governor romney at some point and hopefully that will occur sooner rather than later, but we'll see what the speaker decides.
>> we have southern political expert and columnist, tom baxter. newt gingrich is not giving up. can you be a little bit overly contest as we head into mississippi and alabama? >> this is the ball game for him. the polls that you cited a little bit earlier in the hour has some -- the rasmussen poll that came out on friday had romney up seven in mississippi. so if gingrich has made that kind of move, that's -- >> maybe a little room for improvement for romney too because pollsters are showing that it's fairly close between he, romney and santorum. it's difficult to call, isn't it? >> and if you want to watch for any kind of a tipping point, it
might be santorum's win in kansas. and also the fact that in alabama, there's a state supreme court race which has drawn judge roy moore, the ten commandments judge. that might help santorum, too. >> this really is the fight about who is most conservative. alabama, mississippi, stronghold, conservative state, whoever whether it's one or more than one candidate to win those primaries, will that mean that the base will more likely kind of throw it's support behind that candidate? how important are these southern states? >> well, if mitt romney doesn't win solidly in these states, it's not the end of the world for him. i mean this looks kind of awful, talking about grits and biscuits. >> it's charming too, isn't it? >> it's charming in its way, so
if he pulls the vote that it looks like he might. >> if, say, romney ends up being the nominee just because of his delegate count right now, people are feeling like he's in a pretty good position, if he doesn't do well in the southern states, what happens come the fall? is it just by virtue of him being the republican nominee what would he have to change his strategy a little bit more to be more appealing in fall than he was in the primary season? >> i think you can pretty comfortably put alabama and mississippi in the republican column in the fall. i don't think there's any worry about carrying those states. but i guess the worry is that if you're not really rock solid there, there might be a problem in georgia, there might be a problem in north carolina, and so i think republicans had to
worry about their intensity factor in the south. >> and if newt gingrich does not win in alabama or mississippi, is it time for him to reassess? or do you see he and his camp reassessing? >> he session he's going to go on to tampa, but there was kind of a wistful quality to the campaign here in the last couple of days so let's just say how he shows on tuesday. >> it's been written too that there's some subliminal messages, he's been using a lot more past tense, i ran because of xyz, as opposed to i am running. >> after tuesday night, that past tense might become permanent. >> all right, so as we have been telling you, mitt romney is claiming victory in caucuses held this we could in guam and
the biggest prize is in kansas. we're going to throw more time to overland park, kansas. why to the decisive win for santorum, is he hoping to gain more ground from this momentous victory for him? >> yeah, i mean, fred is a win is a win, right? he won pretty big here in kansas yesterday in the caucuses. let's take a look at the breakdown of the results. rick santorum 51%, ron paul 13%. that romney 21%, and begin riff 14%. let's put this in perspective, mitt romney pretty such ceded
the state. and mitt romney had a big day himself yesterday, he claims he estimated about 45 delegates by waiting in different contests we also had in northern marianna islands, guam, the virgin islands. so that's why mitt romney's campaign is claiming, you know what? we had a big stay, we had a statement here from his communications director. what was hyped as a big opportunity for rick santorum, he again fell short of making that dent in mitt romney's already large delegate lead and we know that mitt romney is doing very well in the delegate lead. >> we're talking about 250 delegates so is the santorum camp saying they can make up that frowned in the near future? >> yeah, i mean it's going to be a beautiful ground.
already, you know you need 1144 delegates to win the nomination. mitt romney has 40% of the delegates so far, based on our c nrc cnn estimation. it will be a very steep climb for these remaining keftds for rick santorum to catch up to mitt romney. mitt romney will continue to do well. he'll play second, maybe even third. but that still means of course d-day delegates, keep paying attention to that word, racking up delegates. >> shannon travis, glad we were able to reconnect. there's a new republican vp list out.
has been to tuesday's primaries in alabama and mississippi, leading the delegate count, and if he becomes the gop nominee, he will have to take some key states, it will take some beating in some key states to beat president obama. cnn looks at john king at how the numbers should fall. >> this is the map from 2008. based on the census results, president obama would have a bigger margin than he actually won in the last election. most people believe that new hampshire will be a sing state this time. republicans hope to put pennsylvania in play. democrats at home don't get nervous, we're going to take it away, virginia and north carolina, let's make them swing states, ohio a swing state. most people think indiana will go back to republicans. you have had some republicans who say they can play here and
here, i'll do it for the sake of argument. colorado will be a sing state. nevada, you have to make that a swin state. some states say arizona could be a swing state. let's just start right here, but there will be more, people at home, let's say this, republicans to 169, i think our white chief correspondent is listening to this as we go. prove it to you republicans, i'm going to keep these in the democratic column until you can prove otherwise. we were in florida recently for a debate. this is pretty tough for president obama. let's for the sake of argument split the difference. let obama keep virginia, give north carolina to the republicans. where are we now? the president's getting close. that was a pickup for the
president. let's get that one. i was convinced. look at this when we get this here, now you have nevada, iowa, indiana, for the sake of argument, watch this, that hasn't voted republican for president for a long time. prove it to me, if ohio does swing, you could have a scenario, wolf, look at that. three still states, let's say the latino vote right now, that one convinces me that it's the democrats. where did we start this campaign? that would be iowa and new hampshire? is it going to come down to this? probably not, it probably comes down to ohio and florida. but you come down to a tiny state, if the president wins iowa, he gets to 268, and then we fight it out, mitt romney, can you win minnesota new hampshire again or does president obama get new hampshire? >> if romney does get the
nomination, who would be his vice president. some political watchers and a new list is out that's getting a whole lot of buzz. josh levs has a whole lot on that. >> exactly, here's the thing, the talk that happens now about possible vice presidential candidates actually is part of the horserace. we saw the same thing four years ago. probably what happens is the mains get floated and then campaigns and establishments watch and then there's things exposed about possible vp candidates. all this can have an impact on who they will choose. hotline is giving their own assessment on who might be winning the beef state.
putting virginia governor bob mcdonald at the top. they point to a couple of things. there's this controversial battle over this anti-abortion measure in this state that has folks attention on his background. that could help romney shore up support against devastates. senator marco rubio in florida. we reported ourselves that at the time he was leading a survey in what people might see for the republican vice president. he's very popular, but they question whether he's had adequate scrutiny by the media so far. governor chris christie, you've seen him many times, very popular in new jersey. listen to what they say about him. two white guys from the northeast may not be the image that romney's team is going for. under rob portman in colorado,
he has washington credentials, which could potentially help romney. he's never going to send chills down the spine of the republican party. they list two more here. republican bobby jindal, they say he brings in youth and diversity as those credentials talls. also however, he endorsd rick perry, early on before perry dropped out for president. and the final thing we're seeing, paul ryan, who's the budget committee chairman. he supports romney's tax plan. however, representative ryan says he does not want to run for the presidency. we really want to couch this in what we really want to know. think about what happened then, president obama went with a failed presidential contender, joe biden.
and as we know, senator john mccain went just completely off the grid and shows sarah palin, governor out of alaska who was predicted by almost no one in washington. so you cannot know early on, what you can see, what will be interesting is now that these names are out there from national journal hot line, how people in the coming days react, that's what we'll watch for? >> no women? >> in what's been listed so far, no women. but we're inviting you all to weigh in on facebook and twitter. and the first post i got today was from someone saying condoleezza rice should be considered for the vice presidency. last time sarah palin wasn't mentioned early on either. but it could turn out to be anybody. >> interesting. >> and fred, before i go, we're going to do a little 180 here.
because joe is always so much fun, and one of the reasons we love it is our wonderful producer who's leaving us today, to whom we must now say goodbye. pamela west, p. west, we love her, we wish her the absolute best. she's brought you so much great television. >> she has. and she works so hard on this program and everything that she involves herself in. giant commitment, way far ahead of anybody else so we wish you the best, and we're going to miss you, pam. okay, let's get welcome back to the race for 2012, for the white house, what issues are at stake in the primaries in mississippi and alabama. we'll talk to our southern political observer next. everything. and more.
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issues. >> you know, you would think in a state where in the middle of last year, a third of the people were on food stamps like alabama that they would be talking about maybe disaster relief or what do we do about the tornadoes and stuff like that. but i really do believe when you're talking about the republican electorate in both these states, you're talking about people who are specifically concerned with the big national issues. they're concerned with too much government spending and any issues that might have ariz ari locally.
these are states that are not really been with it in primary season. they really are thinking of the national story rather than their local story right now. >> you talk about tornadoes, mississippi, alabama, they're part of that tornado alley. and most recently, we heard from candidate ron paul who said he would like to see that tornado or disaster ravaged state not be able to rely on federal funding. does that statement kind of cancel him out of contention in states like alabama and mississippi as it pertains to disaster relief, they're often hit by tornadoes or even hurricanes. >> ron paul's down in single digits in those states and libertarian strain's not as strong in the republican heart as it is out west.
i don't think it's going to take a lot of difference. >> how do these candidates appeal to the southern voter? the south does not vote in summon know litic way. however when you had newt gingrich who claimed his most recent home in georgia and said he really is the southern candidate. is that enough to allow him to appeal to alabama or mississippi? >> as you said it's not a monolithic region anymore. its not enough to say i'm southern and i eat grits. but it's whether they think the candidate is really consistent with the right wing of the republican party, what they see as the evolution of the more -- >> we heard about the beef stake, what we heard about josh
levs. you actually called the shot in 2008, saying sarah palin just might be a good vice presidential candidate. >> very early on. >> are there any guesses for this race? >> i guess it's not going to be bob mccdonalcdonald, because wh candidate with a woman problem going to do? i mean he's been -- he really has been a conservative standout and if his problem were that you were trying to bring back the conservative men, then you would bring back the vp. but republican women governors, perhaps, many times think of a carly fiorina or somebody like that, but something other than two white guys. >> all right, tom baxter, thanks
very much, always good to see you. appreciate it. how are gop candidates addressing key social issues ahead of tuesday's primaries, we'll be talking to a couple of newspaper reports in alabama and mississippi right after this. no. because in this business... there are no straight lines. only the twists and turns of an unpredictable industry. the passengers change... the gates change. government regulations change... oil peaks and plummets. and let's not even get started on the weather. the fact is: no two flights are ever the same. no matter how many times we've accomplished them in the past. the eighty-thousand employees at delta... must predict the unpredictable. anticipate the unexpected. and never let the rules... overrule common sense. this is how we tame the unwieldiness of air travel. pull it taut...
all right, cnn brings you politics during this hour. we're bringing you the 12 presidential contenders in their words. we're looking at the big primary push come tuesday. i'm joined by -- i'm joined right now from tupelo, emily la cause, and george talbot from the press register in mobile, alabama. good to see both of you. >> all right, emily, you first, so is it politics or policy that will get mississippi's attention in are they looking for the most conservative or the one who's speaking of certain issues. >> i think issues are definitely important, we have one of the
nation's highest unemployment rates, conservatism are definitely important, we are the most contest state in the nation and also the most religious. so social value south side key. if you've got the key to the other issues but you've not conservative and you're not a christian, then that might be a problem. >> george, any different in alabama? >> yeah, maybe a little, one thing i'm seeing is they came into the state a week ago, these three guys, gingrich, romney and santorum were really firing a lot of ammunition at each other, we were seeing them taking a lot of shots at one another, but as the weekend progressed and they were interacting with voters, they began to shift that energy and focus to barack obama because i these they're playing to voters, conservative voters down here who just want a change in the white house.
so as the week has progressed and they really have gotten deep in the states, that's certainly a trend. they do have those super pacs and surrogates to go out there and do some of the zidirty work for them. >> so george, you write that a gingrich win in alabama will resurrect his campaign unlike his georgia or south carolina wins. why do you say that? >> well, he's the guy that has the most at stake and of the three, he's the one that's poured the most energy, time and effort into alabama, he's been here every day since supertuesday often doing events from one end of the state to the other. he's got a lot of chips on the table on tuesday. if romney wins as all the polls
show a dead heat, there's certainly something happening down here because they just announced these more events in alabama tomorrow. but gingrich has everything riding here, but if he can't win because of the investment he's made over the last week here, i think that's a knockout blow for his campaign. >> and then emily, you think mississippi really could be incredibly influential nationally, is that in large part because you said it is the most conservative, most religious state that is voting? >> yeah, that's definitely a big reason, you know, like my colleague in alabama said, the candidates are focusing a lot of time and a lot of energy here, and traditionally southern states have been incredibly important to presidential politics and we're at a point in the campaign where it does make a big difference, likewise if gingrich wins, it's going to be huge for his campaign, if santorum wins, it's going to un- >> is there a feeling in about
20 seconds left with the two views that romney is not resonating in either state? george, you first. has there been a turn around for him? >> yes, we'll see some new polling numbers tonight, but nobody's predicting a romney win, if he were to somehow to win alabama, you could go ahead and give him the nomination. but your conservative voters are split between gingrich and santorum. >> it seems like a at least here in north mississippi, the voters are -- gingrich and santorum resonate more with them. >> emily and george, thank you very much for your time. we'll talk again post tuesday. so we'll have more on the contenders 2012 in just a moment. but first, we all probably know a child who's been bullied.
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we continue to delve into the issues of the campaign. the next big gop presidential contests are just two days away and mitt romney remains the overall front runner but he's still far from having the number of delegates needed to win the nomination. wolf blitzer breaks down the m nomination in this week's blitzer's block. >> when you look at the popular
vote, the lines are clearly drawn t mass seems to be in romney's favor. so for since iowa, more than 8 million have voted in the primaries and republican caucuses. rick santorum has come in second with 25% or roughly $2 million. newt gingrich is third with 1% or 1 mi,800,000 votes. these numbers underscore romney's clear plurality in the party's -- what's much more important flight is a race for delegates. as you know by now, 1,144 delegates are needed to clinch the nomination at the republican nomination in tampa at the end of august. by cnn's latest estimate. romney is certainly way ahead in this battle but still far from the goal line, that means the
race still has a long way to go. so let the voting continue. wolf blitzer cnn, washington. and tune into "the situation room" at 4:00 p.m. eastern time. all right, next, mitt romney and ron paul on the economy, romney blames the president for unchecked spending, but paul says his party shares blame too. ok, guys-- what's next ? chocolate lemonade ? susie's lemonade... the movie.
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prosperity and security. that deep confidence in a better tomorrow is the basic promise of america. but today that promise is being threatened by a faltering economy and a failed presidency. to the millions of americans, who look around and only see jobs they can't get, and bills that they can't pay, i have a message. you have not failed. you have a president that's failed you and that's going to change. president obama -- >> usa! usa! usa! usa! >> you know, when he was campaigning, president obama said he would create jobs, but for 36 straight months, unemployment has been above 8%.
and he's also said he would cut the deficit in half. the debts today are too high, the opportunities are too few, and we have seen enough of this president in the last few years to know we don't need another five with this president. . >> we need mitt! we need mitt! we need mitt! >> this president has too many excuses and this year we're going to get him out of the white house. >> it's something you see the gop talking about a lot, cutting spending, but ron paul says the conservatives have been just as bad as the democrats have to increasing national debt. >> guess what, our national debt is going up on the average $100 billion every month, and in february of this year, we just
finished february, we went up $200 billion, it's totally out of control and it won't last and that is why fiscal conservatives have to come back into vogue, we as republican conservatives have talked about it for a long time, i don't think we have lived up to our promises, we have had our chances, u be when we have expanded government, the deficit has gone up and we have doubled the department of education. i'm all for education, but from my understanding there is no authority for the department of education, that's one of the ones i want to get rid of. department of education. >> and up next déjà vu on the campaign trail. have we heard this one before? >> i know that gasoline prices are high. but i have a word for you, al by. algae. i've had surgery and yes, i have occasional constipation.
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before on the campaign trail, they call that the stump speech. but there is reputation, there is repetition, there is repetition. >> a man came up to me after the rally and said i want you to tell me i know what the president's nine, nine, nine plan is? and i said, already, what do you think obama's nine, nine, nine plan is in. >> president obama's strategy is $9.99. $9.99 a gallon. >> one of president obama's recent suggestions for an alternative energy source. >> does anybody over here know what his solution was? algae. this is a "saturday night live" skit waiting to happen. i'm amazeda "saturday night live" has not taken that speech and turned it into a skit. you can't make that stuff up. >> to see and hear the former
governor of massachusetts over and over again, means leaving behind hiss for ray into elected office. >> what i know is the economy. that's in my wheel house. i understand how the economy works. >> the economy is what i do. >> businessman romney says his fix will require some sacrifice, including the one brought to you by the all rights pb and s. >> i like pbs, i like big bird and bert and ernie. big bird is going to have to get used to corn flakes. >> reporter: from corn flakes to the constitution, ron paul has what we like to call a message machine. >> the principles of liberty, personal liberty, the cause of liberty is on a roll, let me tell you that. >> and the only candidate who
consistent consistently pre-empts your déàa vu. >> i have said it in every stump speech i have given. >> so the next time you hear a politician belts out a one liner or rattle off a joke, think back, maybe you have heard that one before. >> thank you so much, candy. watch candy crowley every sunday morning on state of the union 9:00 a.m. eastern time. here's a look at where the 2012 contenders will be this week. president obama has white house meetings on monday, on tuesday he welcomes white house prime minister david cameron. and on wednesday, the president will travel to -- he'll host a formal state dinner